For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in . . . (Matt. 25:35).
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matt. 25:40)
These verses impelled Mother Teresa to minister to the poorest of the poor in India. She stated she was not doing social work but God’s work. She saw each person she helped as Jesus Himself. She treated each person she met, young or old, man or woman, rich or poor, equally.
I admire Mother Teresa.
At times I am overwhelmed by statistics stating how many people live in poverty, how many orphans go hungry, how many homeless die in the streets. It paralyzes me. Yet the enormity of the problem did not stop Mother Teresa.
“We will never be able to care for all orphans, cure all disease, feed all the hungry, or treat all the lepers,” she admitted. “Our purpose is not to cure the world’s problems, but to demonstrate Christian love.”
She accomplished this purpose by nurturing one person, and then another, and then another.
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the surrounding area, I traveled with a team to help clean up. We saw immense devastation. The extent of work that lay before us left me wondering what good we could do in a few days. Our team headed to a home and dragged fallen trees, limbs, and debris out of the yard to a designated spot near the street.
As I worked I thought of the starfish story—the one in which a child walks along a beach with washed-up starfish. As she walks she picks up starfish and throws them into the ocean. An adult approaches her and asks why she continues since she can’t possibly make a difference. There are too many. The child picks up another starfish and throws it into the ocean. She declares, “I made a difference to that one!”
I couldn’t help all the people in the New Orleans area, but I helped one.
I can’t adopt all the orphans in the world, but I adopted one.
I can’t feed all of my neighbors, but I can feed one at a time.
I can’t listen to every hurting woman, but I can listen to the one God puts in front of me right now.
How about you? What difference can you make to one today?